Wednesday, October 21, 2015

High Deductible Health Insurance Crushes Health Spending

A new working paper published by the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) shows how much high-deductible health plans reduce spending. Sarah Kliff of Vox.com summarized the details:
Average per-patient spending fell from $5,222.60 in 2012 to $4,446.08 in 2013. That's about a 15 percent decline in a single year — and it held true across all types of health services. Between 2012 and 2014, there was a 25 percent drop in emergency room spending, an 18 percent decline in physician office visits, and a 6 percent decrease in mental health services.
Ms. Kliff indicates “this study is forcing economists to rethink high-deductible health insurance” for a few reasons. The two most important ones are that sick people cut spending as much as healthy people; and that patients did not shop around for better prices, but simply did not seek care.

I don’t think this research demands a do-over for high-deductible health plans at all

Read the entire entry at NCPA's Health Policy Blog.

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